Pelosi says attack on husband made her consider staying on as Democratic leader

"I couldn't give them that satisfaction," Pelosi said.

November 18, 2022, 12:09 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has spoken candidly with print reporters about her husband's assault, what she called "survivor's guilt" and her decision to step down from Democratic leadership.

"If anything it made me think about staying," Pelosi told reporters about the violent, attack against Paul Pelosi in their California home last month that authorities say appeared to be politically motivated.

"No, it had the opposite effect," she continued. "I couldn't give them that satisfaction."

Pelosi did ultimately decide to end her time as speaker, announcing it in a dramatic floor speech to her colleagues on Thursday. She will remain in Congress representing her San Francisco district as a member of the caucus.

"I quite frankly, personally, have been ready to leave for a while," she told reporters from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other print outlets. "Because there are things I want to do. I like to dance; I like to sing. There's a life out there, right?"

PHOTO: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is greeted by staff after she announced that she would step down from her leadership position, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 17, 2022.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is greeted by staff after she announced that she would step down from her leadership position, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 17, 2022.
Erin Schaff/The New York Times via Redux

Pelosi, 82, made history as the first and only woman to be elected speaker. She's worked with four presidents as a leader of the Democratic Party, and is revered for her legislative prowess and fundraising abilities.

Walking onto the House floor Thursday to give her farewell speech, clad in a suffragist-white pantsuit, she received a standing ovation from her colleagues.

"I feel balanced about it all," she told the print reporters. "I don't feel sad about not having a leadership position," she said.

As for who will succeed her, Pelosi said at the time she wouldn't endorse anyone. New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries officially announced his bid for Democratic leader on Friday. After his announcement, Pelosi released a statement saluting Jeffries, as well as Reps. Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar, for stepping up to take on top leadership roles within the party.

On the future of the Democratic Party, Pelosi told reporters, "That's up to them, I want it to be whatever they want it to be."

"They will have their vision, they will have their plan," she said.

PHOTO: In this Jan. 6, 2022 file photo Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Joe Biden with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrives at the Capitol onto mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
In this Jan. 6, 2022 file photo Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Joe Biden with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrives at the Capitol onto mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Stefani Reynolds/POOL/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Addressing her husband's recovery after the attack required him to undergo surgery to repair a skull fracture, Pelosi said he's "doing okay."

"But the traumatic effect on him, this happened in our house," she said, adding their San Francisco residence has turned into a "crime scene" after the attacker broke into it early in the morning on Oct. 28.

The alleged attacker was looking for Nancy Pelosi, according to a federal complaint.

"If he had fallen, slipped on the ice, or was in an accident and hurt his head, it would be horrible, but to have it be an assault on him because they were looking for me is really -- they call it 'survivor's guilt' or something," she said.

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